Research Project | 2023

Characterizing the Evolutionary History of Southern California UC Reserves with an Integrated Computational Approach


Awardee: Maya Chari

Bio: Maya is a senior Computational Biology student, interested in mathematical and computational applications to Ecology. Maya has worked both field and computational jobs and enjoys collecting data and processing it. Maya hopes to take her degree into the field of conservation, specifically within the Los Angeles terrestrial and coastal ecosystems. In her free time, Maya loves to garden and learn about plants.

Project: This project focuses on the development of a fast, user-friendly and efficient way to calculate phylogenetic diversity of a species list. The development of this web-based application will allow scientists and non-scientists alike to upload a list of observed species within one of the UC resources or other California protected areas and visualize what kind of evolutionary diversity they have captured in their sample. This app will help identify depauperate clades within the reserves to inform conservation efforts, as well as expedite the ability to perform complex and computationally expensive measures of evolutionary divergence and phylogenetic diversity.